Sunday, May 31, 2009

as my garden grows

Today I fertilized, weeded and did some planting in the garden. Mostly everything looks pretty good, except my swiss chard is starting to look like swiss cheese...lots of holes. I will try bunched up moist newspaper to put at the base and see if the culprit little bugs hide in there.
I think by broccoli rabe has bolted. It sent up a tall shoot with flowers. I will wait and see if I can find seeds to harvest for another crop.
Today I discovered that I have some peas. I was standing in front of them and I couldn't even see them at first. I just stood there and stared and the longer I looked the more seemed to pop out at me. They are so well camouflaged. The peas in the pod look like little bumps not much in size. I'm hoping that with time they will grow. I've never grown peas before.
Today I added two more tomato plants to my garden and no I didn't go out and buy anymore of them. They were suckers that I had removed from my other plants. I placed them in a cup with water and let them sit on my windowsill.... in about five days they rooted. It's still amazing to me.
Some sunflowers growing. The tall thin plant is a hardy hibiscus I started from seed.
I planted a pickling cucumber plant today which I bought at a nursery. Cucumbers aren't really popular in my household but I wanedt to fill a space in my garden and also learn about how cucumbers grow. I can always share with my neighbors.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Soil test and more

Yesterday I tested my soil with a soil kit. It was a little tricky trying to decide where my samples fell as far as the colors on the comparison chart. I called the cooperative extension and they suggested a soil test they perform for $10dollars and it takes about a week or so to get the results. They weren't confident with the accuracy of the home soil tests. Well, now I know. For the most part the soil was adequate on all except the nitrogen. It came out as deficient which explains why the bottom older leaves on my kale, tomatoes, eggplant and such are yellow. I do have homemade compost and most of it is in small lumps(it don't think the plants are going to be able to absorb the nutrition it needs from them). I fed them miracle grow vegetable fertilizer about four days ago and I believe they quickly absorbed it but the soil is still deficient. I also sprinkled some worm castings around the plants, but I don't have enough to really work it in the soil. I think I will head over to the nursery and pick up some bloodmeal and mix it in the dirt around the plants. This fall, I will be mixing in some major compost, leaves and some manure in the soil.

What do you, my fellow bloggers, as a fertilizer maintenance do(if anything) to keep your plants adequately nourished?
Thank you

I have some more pictures to share:

The pole beans are surfacing. I can't wait till they start to trail up the trellis.

Above are some bush beans.

Some corn.

Radishes, breakfast variety.

If you look closely at the beet greens, there are yellow/orange vines growing up the the stems. What is anomaly? Does anybody know?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Some Garden Highlights

The temperature has been in the mid 90s for the last couple of days. So I've been visiting my garden when I can bear it-morning and evening. I spend more time on my front porch(shaded from the afternoon sun) so I thought I'd share a picture of my avocado tree that I have there. I started it from an avocado pit about a year and 1/2 ago. The brown leaves were earned last year when I was hardening it next to a got sun scorched. The rest of the leaves look quite healthy. I'm already starting to think ahead as far as a suitable home for this plant It will definitely require a much warmer climate...California. I can picture myself driving it to southern Cal. to gift it to my aunt when we visit her. I don't know if it will be capable of bearing fruit one day, hopefully it will. It was fun growing it though. The progress of my seed started petunias. They look like they are bursting at the seams and will be cascading down the sides pretty soon.

Swiss chard. The bottom leaves are starting to yellow. I gave them a drink of high nitrogen fertilizer that I usually use for my lawn. Next time I will use vegetable fertilizer. Below the chard is my tom thumb lettuce. Next to them I sowed some Summer Bibb and many other varieties of salad mixes. I'm looking forward to them.
My tomato plants. The bottom leaves are a bit pale in color. I stopped fertilizing about a month before planting. I thought I wouldn't fertilize them to discourage them from getting root bound in the pot, but all it did was turn the plants pale in color. I have about twenty small tomatoes growing on these four plants.

My little herb garden. In the foreground I have two small oregano plants that I started indoors.
To the left chamomile...planted last fall. In the background, chives, from a friend. Thank you Larry!

Today we will be planting corn purchased from a nursery. Yes, I did plant some corn seeds, but I'm just going to plant the corn plants there and if the corn seeds sprout I'll just pull them out and plant them in the spot I now have my peas in or elsewhere.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Finally...warm season plantings

Yesterday was the day I had long awaited for. I planted all my warm weather crops. I planted seven tomato plants, two of which have little tomatoes growing on them. I did lose one had previous bent over and the stalk became somewhat damaged but what finally brought it to it's death was when I bent it again to plant it on its side. It didn't tolerate the bend(it cracked open and within minutes it was completely wilted. Luckily I had a back up.
I also planted three pepper plants and three eggplants

I also sowed some corn, bush and pole beans. I placed the beans in a small bowl of water with some inoculant and placed it in the sun for about an hour. The skin of the beans wrinkled and one even started to sprout. I also placed more inoculant in the hole that I planted them in.

I finally(for the first time) harvested some beautiful radishes. I was beginning to think I didn't have the green thumb I thought I had. So my spirits were lifted when I was able to bring plump radishes to the dinner table. They were all impressed, including my very picky daughter which took a bite and didn't make any funny faces like she does.

We also enjoyed our first butterhead lettuce(tom thumb) of the season. It was crisp, delicious and bitterness whatsoever. I wish I had planted more of them...I look forward to plenty more in the fall. I will stop by the nursery and see if I can find some come-again-lettuce to get us thru the summer.

Here are some pictures:

Last night I harvested our first butterhead(tom thumb)lettuce. Quite the delicacy. I will definitely plant more of those in the fall. They were crisp, fresh and no bitterness. I wish I had planted more of them. Tonight we will enjoy the kale for dinner.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Meet Max

This is Max, our budgie, and every morning I take him out for some sunshine while I work on my garden. Max loves to play with his toys and sing. We've been trying to teach him to talk, but so far he hasn't learned. Just so you know we don't keep him locked up all day. While he's indoors his door is always open. He comes and goes as he pleases and spends time between his cage, gym or the fish bowl(he loves to sit on the ledge). Poor fish, I think Max tortures him, although Max isn't after the fish, he just loves to pull on the plants in the's a challenge for him.

Mostly tomato plants and some pepper plants too.

These are how many plants I cart in and out of the house twice a day. I'm counting down on the day that I can plant them in the ground-May 15, one more week. I was thinking about getting some wall-o-waters, but my plants are too tall and they wouldn't be protected from frost completely.

The plants hardening off in the coldframe. I do have to throw extra plastic over the frame to provide extra protection from the sun. They wilt with just the 4mm plastic the coldframe has to offer.

When my daughter comes home from school, we'll plant petunias in the flower boxes, start some corn, pole beans, okra and sunflower seedlings and we'll plant our cilantro and dill in the garden.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Catching up

I have a slight feeling of guilt for not having blogged recently. This must be a common sentiment when we don't report on our blog as often as we feel we should.

Today I uncovered one of my garden boxes which I keep continuously covered and I inspected all that I have. I'm so happy with the progress. I stepped back and I admired the little bit that I do have and how healthy it looks so far. I'm tempted to keep the cover off so that we can enjoy the look of the garden becoming dense and green but I'm more interested in keeping it bug-free.

My coldframe is mostly done. I need to trim the extra plastic around the edges, and connect/ drill holes on the stick that will prop open the box. For now a regular stick will do. The one thing I am not happy about are the eyelet system holding the box together. They were difficult to place evenly and the dowels are very difficult to slide in and are temporarily held in place with some slim bamboo sticks(flimsy). We will try pushing in the dowels or maybe get smaller ones, which would still leave the system loose. In the end we may just use screws to hold the box together. I don't have any plans on storing my box and am planning on keeping it out year round.

One more thing. My vining tomatoes are very tall. Due to the lack of strong direct light they have gotten quite lanky. The window does face west, so it gets sun for part of the day although not the full 6 to 8 hours required and it has been cloudy for a while. I think I may start my tomatoes a little later next year or make the shelf spacing taller so that I can accommodate my tall tomato plants under the lights. ...ahh the challenges of gardening in a short garden season area...only 90 days long.

Now for some pictures: